Home' Inclean : INCLEAN Mar-Apl 2017 Contents 54 INCLEAN March/April 2017
CARPET & RESTORATION
The clean-up process of meth houses remains a ‘grey area’ in
Australia, with industry technicians calling for guidelines in order
to avoid price gouging by some companies.
Last month’s documentary series on the ABC Ice Wars revealed
3707 meth labs were detected across Australia in the past five years
to 2014. But what still remains unclear across the industry is how
the chemical clean-up should be done and who is responsible to
ensure the process is completed correctly.
Jackie Wright, toxicologist, environmental risk sciences, told
the ABC it’s the council’s responsibility to notify tenants if the
property has previously been used as a meth lab, but this is not
always the case.
“The council are meant to notify the owner. The council are then
meant to organise for a qualified person to test it to see how much
contamination is left behind. A cleaning company will then come
and then there’ll be some more testing done to check it’s clean
enough and safe enough to live in.
“Unfortunately what commonly happens is that councils don’t
want to take responsibility for the meth labs so they don’t notify the
owners; they just sit on the information.”
Small portion of meth labs
Jenny Boymal, managing director of Jena Dyco International, told
the ABC only a small portion of meth labs discovered each year in
Australia are professionally remediated.
“There are a huge amount of labs out there and on the whole they’re
not remediated. I can guarantee that out of the 600-plus meth labs
Responsibility of meth lab clean-ups a ‘grey area’
Jena Dyco International’s new range of specialised courses for 2017
is part of the training provider’s strategy to give the once “silent”
restoration industry a louder voice.
The launch of the advanced courses also follows the opening of Jena
Dyco’s new facility in Melbourne, which is four times the size of its
previous location. Jenny Boymal, Jena Dyco MD said the new facility
will have a phased opening as the company looks to “strategically
plan out the practical training. “We want to do as much practical
training as possible and this gives us the ability to do that.”
New cleaning courses for 2016 include specialised leather repair
and recolouring course as well as some advanced stain removal
courses. “I think predominately when you look at the carpet cleaning
industry and the cleaning industry as a whole, a lot of cleaners don’t
understand the depth of the chemistry involved to remove stains that
are really high level,” said Boymal.
“A lot of people are also moving from fabric upholstery to leather
upholstery so from a cleaning perspective there is an opportunity
to really develop skills in being a leather specialised. Having a
specialised skill allows business to charge specialist prices, and in
an industry that is so price sensitive having these qualifications is a
marketing tool and an income generator because you can provide
services others can’t.”
Also on offer are Woolsafe specialist courses, following Jena
Tyco’s takeover of the local management of the UK-based cleaning
organisation’s Australian division last year. “Cleaning wool carpet
as opposed to synthetic is very specialised. Because wool is a natural
Compete with specialist skills, not price: Jena Dyco MD
fibre it reacts to chemicals a certain way and it’s very easy to ruin.
It’s a consumer facing program so that they know whoever is dealing
with their wool carpet is dealing with it in a safe way.”
Combating ‘price shoppers’
Boymal says offering specialised skill sets is one way businesses can
compete beyond price and “price shoppers”. “There are so many
market marketing tools that exist day and the online space is so
competitive. But online attracts a lot of price shoppers – they don’t
know anything to ask apart from, ‘how much?’ And, because of
this quality companies struggle to compete. Businesses need to come
up with different ways they can compete beyond price and having
specialised staff is one of them.”
Boymal believes more advanced restoration courses will also
help the “silent” restoration industry find its voice among other
competing sectors. Specialists restoration courses set to launch this
year include mould remediation and containment, as well as a one-
day course on asbestos.
“Restoration plays a massive role in the insurance market but a lot
of people don’t know that the industry exists. For example, when
someone has water running down their wall at home and it’s caused
the paint to bubble people would call a handyman or a painter.
They don’t know who to call. As an industry it hasn’t been a great
advocate for itself in the past. The restoration space is also always
changing so we’re always looking at how we can we develop courses
that meet a need we see as missing in the industry.”
that are discovered every year there’s a small fraction that have been
professionally remediated, which is a concern,” Boymal said.
“The big issue with meth labs is that people don’t know the
property has been used as a meth lab. Often what happens is that
people will move into a property and it’s not disclosed to them that
it was a meth lab. They notice they’re getting quite sick and can’t
work out what’s going on. Then, once they trace it back, they realise
remediation didn’t take place.”
Industry standards needed to avoid
Ahmad Merhi, lead technician of Living Fresh Specialist Cleaning
Services, said a lack of guidelines for the clean-up process has
hygienists to charge “astronomical” prices.
“This business at the moment is run by the mafia, that’s the way
I look at it because there [are] no guidelines. There are hygienists
out there demanding astronomical prices for testing and the testing
is so simple.”
Merhi told INCLEAN magazine he has seen some hygienist prices
as high as $16,000 for an initial assessment, where a standard report
should cost around $2800.
“They are taking advantage of a lot of home owners because there
aren’t any standard prices or guidelines.”
Merhi said the number of houses Living Fresh remediates has
climbed into the hundreds across Australia and New Zealand.
“At the moment we’re moving into the hundreds but that’s in
Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand has different guidelines. In
New Zealand, it’s a lot more controlled there compared to Australia.”
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